The Chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa has stepped down from participating in adjudicating petitions challenging the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Zainab, who is also the President of the Appeal Court made the announcement on Wednesday in Abuja after the tribunal had delivered ruling against an application challenging her membership of the tribunal.
Dislcosing why she stepped down, Zainab said: ”I have allowed the ruling on the application urging me to rescue my membership of the tribunal to test the position of the law.
“Now that the application has been dismissed on account of incompetence, I hereby announce my withdrawal from the panel.
“The remaining four members of the panel would remain while step would be taken to appoint my replacement’’, she said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its Presidential Candidate in the February 2019 general election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had approached the tribunal to challenge Bulkachuwa’s membership.
They prayed the tribunal to order the discharge of the chairman of the tribunal.
The PDP averred that Justice Bulakchuwa is the biological mother to Aliyu Haidar-Abubakar a prominent card-carrying member of the All Progressive Congress.
It further averred that being the wife and mother of prominent card-carrying members of the APC which is the third respondent in the petition before the tribunal, there is every likelihood of bias if Justice Bulkachuwa remains as a member of the panel.
They also asserted that at the inaugural sitting of the tribunal the president of the appeal court while delivering her speech said “elections are held in Nigeria every four years into elective positions, no matter how well the election is conducted there are bound to be complaints.”
Her decision to step down is seen as a test of transparency of the process.